Last night I had some friends over to watch movies: one of my friends asked me about the 7 Habits that I have framed and hanging in the foyer. Specifically, she was asking me about the 7th Habit, SHARPEN THE SAW. We had a quick conversation about the topic and then went back to watching the movie. The conversation kept resonating in my mind with other similar conversations that I have had recently. As I thought more and more about this topic, my thoughts also turned to an article I had recently written for a martial arts blog, The Academics of Martial Arts.
During our short conversation about sharpening the saw, I realized how many different skills are actually involved in most people’s professional lives. I was thinking about how many different options I had to “sharpen my own saw”. I am sure everyone can also come up with a similar list for themselves. Some of the items on this list are more obvious than others. The list of skills that are directly relevant for me as a Tai Chi instructor surprised me at first.
1. Tai Chi (this was the most obvious and apparent)
2. Interpersonal Skills
3. Adult Education and Instruction
4. Learning Styles
5. Communication Skills
6. Presentation and Curriculum Development
7. Creative Writing
The more I think about it, the longer this list could grow. Each of these skills directly impacts how successful I am in my chosen profession. All professions are impacted by a similar list. Think about how the items on this list affect my referrability.
There certainly is an academic side to any profession. The realization is that the academics encompass much more than simply what you do for a living. In general, we should be continuously studying and improving those skills that also impact our professional abilities and skills. In other words, to be the best at what you do, you have to know and be able to do so much more than simply your chosen profession.
What part of your “saw” are you letting get dull?